Julia Preston writes in today's New York Times about the 6.5-million-dollars worth of recent adjustments to the civics test immigrants need to pass in order to become American citizens. Concerned more with "basic concepts about the structure of government and American history and geography" than "civics trivia," the test, according to the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Emilio Gonzalez, "genuinely talks about what makes an American citizen."
A 5 December 2006 article by Clyde Haberman, querying why New York City wasn't among the ten cities to try out the new test, offers some dire but, as ever, unsurprising stats on those of us born into the privilege of citizenship:
A Zogby International poll several months ago showed that 74 percent of Americans (and 62 percent of New Yorkers) knew Larry, Curly and Moe, but only 42 percent (39 percent in New York) could list the executive, legislative and judicial branches.
How about this: A mere 24 percent of Americans could name two United States Supreme Court justices, while 77 percent could name two of Snow White's seven dwarfs. That might be worth bearing in mind for a question on the new test about who the chief justice is.
So, for a little obscene fun, I challenge readers who may or may not be American citizens to click on the image to the right and take the sample quiz published with the article. And, then, you know, let us know how you did...
**Update: The answers are linked here (bottom of the page)--but no cheating!